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Last updated 4:58AM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Commissioners Hear Pleas To Stop Land Swap
(2007-07-11)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Dozens of opponents of a federal land swap in Northern La Plata County, made impassioned pleas Tuesday, for intervention from La Plata County Commissioners.
They urged the Commissioners to at least adopt a resolution against the land exchange.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports:

VICTOR: It goes by several names.
The Forest Service calls it the Hermosa Land Exchange.
That's because the 265 acres of land South of Chris Park the federal government would surrender would be replaced by 320 acres in the Hermosa Wilderness area.
It's referred to as the Chris Park exchange, because the 265 acres of federal land in question is just south of the campground by the same name.
And some refer to by others as the Haviland Lake giveaway.
They're concern is giving away the 265 acres would destroy the wild land experiences and recreation that can now be enjoyed in the area all around Haviland Lake.
About 50-people opposed to the giveaway packed the La Plata Commissioners hearing room Tuesday, and almost two dozen voiced their opinions.
A trail bisecting the property, some say, is actually the 1870 Animas Canyon Tollroad, a historic highway.
Richard Robinson and other speakers say the county should claim the road as historic right of way.
ROBINSON: WE HOPE WE DON'T LOSE THIS HISTORIC PLACE AND AT THE MOMENT, ONE HALF MILE OF IT WOULD BE GIVEN AWAY IN THE LAND EXCHANGE.
Several others, like Kitty Benzar, decried what they say will be the loss of easily accessible recreational land should the trade occur.
BENZAR: THERE'S NOT A DAY, EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER, IN THE MIDDLE OF A BLIZZARD THAT YOU WON'T LIKELY FIND SOMEBODY FROM THE PUBLIC USING THEIR PUBLIC LAND IN THE HAVILAND LAKE AREA. THE AMOUNT AND VARIETY OF USES THAT LAND SUPPORTS IS JUST UNMATCHED ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COUNTY.
Many speakers, like Bruce Politch, say the land the feds propose to swap is worth much more than the Hermosa Park and Mitchell Lakes parcels they would gain.
POLITCH: ON THE FACE OF IT, IT'S A BAD TRADE.
And others, like resident Dick Dahl, are worried the trade could lead to even more development than the new homes and 9 holes of golf Glacier Club has proposed at the site.
DAHL: THIS IS PHASE ONE WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. TEN YEARS FROM NOW, WHEN THEY DEVELOP THIS, THEY'RE GONNA WANT THE REST OF THAT NORTH OF THERE.
The commissioners didn't vote on the resolution submitted by the Save Haviland group.
They have, instead, instructed staff to investigate the historic significance of the wagon trail through the federal lands, and craft a resolution of their own.
They expect to vote on it, before the August 10th deadline for public comment on the trade, which would be followed by at least another year of deliberation by federal officials.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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